Al Jazeera investigation claims Bahrain child prisoner abuse

Al Jazeera investigation claims abuse of child prisoners rife in Bahrain jails
2 min read
28 September, 2021
Bahrain has dismissed a documentary by Qatari television channel Al Jazeera that children are being detained and mistreated in adult prisons.
Rights groups have previously documented the detention of children at Bahraini prisons [Getty]

A report by Al Jazeera has claimed that children are being detained and mistreated in Bahrain prisons.

The documentary, released last week, said that it had found evidence that more than 600 children had been subject to torture between 2011 and 2021.

The programme's findings came from leaked judicial documents and the testimonies of alleged child detainees.

Children had been subject to solitary confinement and physical abuse during interrogations, the investigation found.

Sources from the prosecution's office told Al Jazeera there are more than 150 children currently detained in Bahraini prison facilities.

Bahrain responded to the report and said it was part of the channel's "smear campaigns" against the country.

Bahrain's interior ministry said in a statement released Sunday that children were not being held in the country's prisons, though some teenagers are serving time at a special correction centre. 

The 15-to-18-year-olds held at the correctional centre had been "convicted in criminal and terrorist cases... and been subject to fair trials".

The ministry denied that inmates were being deprived of visits.

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have previously documented the detention of children at Bahraini prisons, urging their release.

Bahrain has stepped up its crackdown on opposition since an uprising rocked the country during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing its Gulf rival of backing terrorism and interfering in Bahraini affairs, claims that Doha strongly denies.

Manama has previously accused Al Jazeera of bias in its coverage of the uprising in Bahrain.